At first I was hesitant with the idea of traveling from Oxford to London for the New Year’s Eve festivities, thinking it might be difficult to get around London, and back to Oxford at such late/early hours. But the more I thought about it, the more it seemed like it could be a good night out, and worth any travel hassles that might occur.
So, destination: Nambucca in London. 596 Holloway Road, Islington. Our friend Greig Stewart (Guillemots) was DJing plus Orthadox Junkies and Michael Latif. Also, the bands lined up for the night were Swedish indie rockers Pippa Marias, London bands Them Changes, Prima Donna and Wildlife.
This was an important night for venue owners Gemma Clarke (former drummer for The Suffrajets, Babyshambles) and her family – her father Graham Clarke and brother Jack. After being closed for two years because of a fire, which gutted the building in 2008, Nambucca had its grand reopening December 18, 2010. Their New Year’s Eve party was going to be another celebration, this time, at year end after all the hard work of rebuilding, looking forward to the future of the establishment.
When we arrived at the venue around 8pm Gemma was outside, and talked to us about the preparations that went into making this a night to remember. I was looking forward to it, and the bands that she arranged to play for the night – oh and not to forget, Greig’s DJing slot. She also said that the venue caters to live music every night – including a weekly open mic in the front bar.
The venue looks great – there’s rock memorabilia and posters on the walls, including Gemma’s old Babyshambles drum kit placed above the door. The bar area is nice, with plush leather seating by the windows, the DJs are set up above the bar and then straight through to the back of the room and up a couple steps takes you into the live music venue area.
We were able to catch some of Greig’s DJing, he was spinning current pop and indie tunes mixed with some old favorites, but it started around the same time as Prima Donna, so the live music was calling us into the other room to watch the bands, which were perfectly chosen for the night. The theme was raw, old school rock with a mix of glam and punk. All three young bands could easily show up on Top of the Pops if the charts program was still on the air. Them Changes were stand-out, a three piece with the bass player on lead vocals. Hopefully they’ll come to Oxford, as I would like to see them play again soon. The sound in the live room is excellent – not too loud, but certainly loud enough.
The staff is friendly and welcoming, as was Gemma, and I was lucky to meet her father Graham Clarke at the end of the night. He was in good spirits and I hope that they continue.
It was definitely worth the trip from Oxford, and in the end, it was free tube travel New Year’s Eve from 11:45pm – 4:30am. By the time we left, there weren’t many people on the streets or the tube, which made travel around London a piece of cake.
I highly recommend checking out Nambucca if you’re a fan of live music, or if you’re a DJ or in a band, get in touch with them for bookings!
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